It's wedding season. This means a flurry of love, matrimony and eternal bliss, right? Kinda. It also means that as a wedding guest, you're forking over an alarming slice of your salary, burning through your vacation days and spending more time in the airport than in your bedroom. Here are 5 quick rules for survival.
By: Jeff Wilser/ The Knot
Book Your Travel Early
Obvious? Maybe. But on top of the usual book-early-for-cheaper-flights maxim, there's this to consider: wedding hotels often have a finite capacity. If you're not in the early wave, you might get relegated to the second- or third-tier lodgings — stuck with the bride's drunk cousins who yell "Yeeeeaaahhhww!!!!" at 2 a.m.
Ditch Your Kids
Do it for at least this one night. Your children are adorable and charming and the most special little creatures in the world, but look, here's the no-BS truth: Most people don't really want them at the wedding. Splurge for a sitter and take the night off. (Obviously, if the wedding is explicitly family-themed, then this is null and void.)
Simply Jessie Photography
Use the Gift Registry (Always)
You don't win points for creativity. Maybe you found this watercolor painting of pinecones and you're sure they'll just loooooooooove it! They won't. Couples register for a reason — they want specific items, and these items (kind of) offset the cost of the wedding. Get them what they actually want; skip the pinecones.
Guys: Err on the side of dressy.
You might think, "Whatever — the groom, Billy, is my boy! He doesn't give a damn what I wear!" You're wrong. The bride cares, so he cares. Unless it's on a beach, you need to wear a jacket or a sports coat.
Ashley Brockinton Photography
Use $200 as a baseline.
How much do you spend on a gift? That depends on a ton of factors, but generally, $200 is the safest rule of thumb. Aim higher for a best friend and maybe lower — not too much, though — for your kinda-sorta-not-really acquaintances. If you're invited to a bunch of other events (bachelor party, bridal shower, engagement party), use the 60-20-20 rule: spend 60 percent on the wedding gift and 20 percent on those other parties.
Visit TheKnot.com for 5 More Tips for Surviving a Wedding
The hottest wedding trends of 2013
What your engagement ring says about you